Oil Spill: Chevron Speaks, Says They  Are Committed To Environmental Stewardship

THE Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs have called for an immediate Joint Investigation of all stakeholders into the oil spill which has ravaged many Gbaramatu Communities in Warri South West Area of Delta State alleged to be from Chevron Nigeria Limited.

The Kingdom made the call yesterday in Warri during a press briefing held by Chiefs and communities leaders anchored by Chief Godspower Gbenekama, Fiyewei (Spokesman) of Gbaramatu kingdom.

Gbenekama said that the briefing became necessary following denial by Chevron that the spill is not from its facility.

He said that following oil spill, the kingdom being inundated with complaints made their investigations and have decided to make a public statement.

The statement read in part, “We wish to observe and state as follows; our investigations show an oil spill which has meandered through and beyond the creeks and rivulets of Gbaramatu kingdom owing largely to lack of immediate steps to curtail the spread. The locals have had to abandon their fishing expeditions, even as they develop respiratory problems due to the smell of fumes of the spill.

“The oil spill which occurred about 6 weeks ago was promptly reported to Chevron Nigeria Limited believed to own the assets that produced the spill. The Company, Chevron, has been in denial till now. On Saturday, March 27, 2021, the Company through its General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Esimaje Brikinn, denied that the oil sheen on the waters are from its assets.

“We call for an immediate joint investigation team involving all stakeholders including the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, Chevron, Delta State Government, NOSDRA and relevant agencies to ascertain the cause of the spill and determine the owner-company of asset.

“We think that a unilateral aerial investigation reportedly conducted by Chevron is not reassuring as we know that assists passing through the site of spill are exclusively owned by Chevron Nigeria Limited. We wonder how an alleged aerial investigation could establish any meaningful fact.

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“As custodians of the welfare of our people, we hold and call on the FG , State government and oil companies operating in the area to rise up to the challenge of ameliorating the sufferings of the people, even before we ascertain blame. The people are suffering. We call for relief materials to enable the local populace survive the economic displacement and conditions caused by the oil spill.” The statement said.

Gbenekama also said that Gbaramatu being a law-abiding kingdom will explore all legal means to unravel the owner of the assets and the cause of the spill. He maintained that the Chevron facility will remain close in the meantime to curtail further spread of the spill.

Meanwhile, Chevron Nigeria Limited in a stste reiterates its commitment to environmental stewardship.

The statement signed by Esimsjr Brikinn, General Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs said, “Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and CNL is aware of a report in the media and some communities about an alleged oil spill from Abiteye, Makaraba and Utonana Fields in CNL’s western area of operations, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.

“CNL has investigated and continues to survey its Assets in the Abiteye and Utonana Fields including the 16” Makaraba-Utonana-Abiteye Right of Way (ROW) and confirms that there has not been any indication that the oil sheen on water is from its Assets in Abiteye, Makaraba and Utonana fields or from any other CNL facilities as alleged.

“We take incidents of oil spill seriously. Our surveillance programme is an ongoing exercise engrained in our processes; and we respond to every report of a spill by following established industry regulatory processes, including engagements with communities and regulators, and Joint Investigation Visits (JIV), to determine source, cause and impact of such spills. These are ongoing in the current case”. He added that after the initial report of an alleged spill in the area, CNL conducted an overflight of the area with the regulators, Department of Petroleum Resources and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, and it was confirmed that there has been no spill emanating from any CNL’s assets in the area.

“We continue to engage the communities and communicate our findings concerning the alleged spill to the leadership of the community stakeholders. CNL operates in strict compliance with relevant laws and regulations governing the Nigerian petroleum industry and remains committed to the protection of people and the environment. We will continue to conduct our operations reliably and efficiently, with utmost consideration for environmental protection”

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